Multiple cycles of glacier advance and retreat during the Nantuo (Marinoan) glacial termination in the Three Gorges area
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- Hu, J., Wang, J., Chen, H. et al. Front. Earth Sci. (2012) 6: 101. doi:10.1007/s11707-011-0179-9
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The Snowball Earth hypothesis suggests that the sea water had totally been kept frozen for millions of years in Neoproterozoic glaciation, followed by a rapid and catastrophic deglaciation resulting from the elevated concentration of atmospheric CO2. However, the sedimentary records are not consistent with the Snowball Earth hypothesis. The Nantuo Formation in Three Gorges area is composed of diamictites, sandstones and siltstones. The geochronology and the unconformity with underlying Liantuo Formation indicate that the Nantuo Formation in Three Gorges area may be the partial record (i.e., the final stage) of the Nantuo glaciation. Our studies on sedimentary successions of the Nantuo Formation convince the stepwise transition from the Cryogenia icehouse to the Ediacaran greenhouse, in which multiple glacier advanceretreat cycles rather than a catastrophic termination could be identified.